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Luis Morales lands on Kiley McDaniels’ Top 100 list at ESPN

Luis Morales continues to gain recognition as a prospect around the industry.

Oakland Athletics v Detroit Tigers Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Oakland Athletics pitching prospect Luis Morales landed at No. 89 in Kiley McDaniels’ Top 100 prospects list for the 2024 season. The list was released Wednesday and Morales was the only Athletics prospect to make the list. Morales signed with the A’s for $3 million after defecting from Cuba. He made his debut in 2023, advancing four levels to finish the season at High A.

Here is what McDaniels had to say about him:

The 6-foot-3 Morales was a decorated player in Cuba before defecting at a tournament in Mexico. He struck out 58 batters in 42⅓ innings in the top Cuban pro league, so scouts knew there was some usability of the stuff they saw in private workouts before he signed. He was into the upper-90s with rumors of triple digits and showed a potential plus curveball along with a usable changeup, but some scouts wondered if there was too much relief risk in his delivery and arm action to go much over $1 million.

Oakland’s gamble has paid off so far, as he reached High-A in his first pro season, striking out 52 and walking 15 in 44 innings over four levels. His fastball sat 96-98 mph and his 81-85 mph two-plane breaker might have 70-grade potential. His changeup is already flashing solid average. Morales’ command still needs to progress a bit more, but we’re only 44 pro innings into his career — the pieces are here for a midrotation-type pitcher.”

Morales didn’t make MLB Pipeline’s or Baseball Prospectus’ Top 100 lists. Baseball America ranked him 79th in their top 100.